Mastering digital onboarding: a quick guide to success


The traditional onboarding process of new employees has long been manual and time-consuming, often involving paperwork, face-to-face meetings, and physical orientation sessions.


Post-pandemic, the rise of digital technology has led to the emergence of digital onboarding, a more efficient and streamlined approach to onboarding new employees.


Digital onboarding is an important new approach that helps organizations integrate new employees seamlessly into their roles while minimizing disruption to business operations. 


The process typically involves leveraging digital tools and platforms to automate administrative tasks, deliver training and orientation materials, and provide new hires with a comprehensive understanding of their roles and responsibilities. 


It leverages digital tools and platforms, such as online portals, automated access management, and workflow automation software, reducing the time, effort, and cost required to get new employees up to speed. 


In this guide, we will look closer at the digital onboarding process, from pre-boarding to post-boarding activities, and explore how technology can streamline and enhance the experience for both employers and employees.


What is digital onboarding?

Digital onboarding for new employees is the process of using digital tools and technologies to facilitate the onboarding of new employees into a company. This includes automating tasks, providing easy access to necessary applications, and streamlining the collection and processing of new employee documentation. The goal of digital onboarding is to create a seamless onboarding experience for new employees, promoting engagement, productivity, and retention.


Benefits of digital onboarding

  1. Increased efficiency: Digital onboarding can significantly reduce the time and effort required to onboard new employees, enabling them to get up to speed quickly and contribute to the company's success.

  2. Enhanced engagement: By using digital tools and resources, companies can provide new employees with a more engaging onboarding experience, increasing their overall job satisfaction and commitment.

  3. Improved retention: A positive experience can help improve employee retention rates, reducing turnover and related costs.

  4. Better compliance: Ensure new employees are trained on key company policies and procedures and have completed all necessary paperwork and compliance training, reducing the risk of legal and regulatory issues.

  5. Consistency: Standardize and automate one new process so new employees receive the same onboarding experience, consistent messaging, and training across the organization.

  6. Reduced costs: By automating certain onboarding tasks, such as paperwork and data entry, companies can reduce the costs associated with manual onboarding processes, such as printing, shipping, and storing paper documents.


Digital onboarding can create a positive first impression of the company, increase efficiency, and improve employee engagement and retention rates, reducing onboarding friction and turnover.


Different types of digital onboarding tools

There are several approaches and technologies that can be used with digital onboarding to streamline and enhance the process. Here are some of the most common ones:


Online onboarding portals

An online onboarding portal is a central location where new employees can access all the necessary information and resources to complete their onboarding. This portal can include online training modules, policy and procedure documents, FAQs, and other relevant resources. Online onboarding portals are accessible from any device with an internet connection and can be personalized to each employee's needs.


Options range from established solutions like Microsoft Sharepoint to SaaS startups like Eddy.  Search ‘onboarding portals’ and review your options.


E-Signature software

Enables new employees to sign important documents electronically, eliminating the need for printing, scanning, and mailing. This can significantly reduce the time and effort required to complete onboarding paperwork and increase security and compliance. DocuSign and Adobe E-signature are examples.


Video conferencing

Used to conduct virtual orientation sessions, meet with HR staff, and connect with colleagues. This can be particularly useful for remote employees or those unable to attend in-person orientation sessions. Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams are popular options.


Automated workflows

Workflow automation technology (sometimes called ‘no code’ or low code’) uses digital tools and software to automate business processes and tasks, such as access, approvals, notifications, and data flows. This technology enables businesses to streamline workflows, reduce manual labor, and increase productivity and efficiency. Popular platforms include Cerby, Airtable, Workato, and UiPath.


Single sign-on (SSO) solutions

SSO solutions can simplify the login process for new employees, enabling them to access all their necessary applications with a single set of credentials. This can reduce the time and effort required to set up access for new employees while enhancing security. Okta and Cerby are two options.


Identity and access management (IAM) platforms

IAM platforms manage access to company systems and applications, ensuring new employees have the necessary access to perform their job functions. IAM platforms can also automate access control processes and ensure compliance with company policies and regulations.  

Process of digital onboarding

Digital onboarding technologies can streamline and simplify onboarding new employees, ensuring a positive experience and setting them up for success. Here are some important steps to follow when using digital onboarding technologies for new employees:


  1. Pre-boarding. Use digital onboarding tools to automate the pre-boarding process, including sending new employees welcome emails, setting up their accounts, and providing access to company information and resources.
  2. Paperless documentation. Use digital tools to automate the collection and processing of new employee documentation, such as employment contracts, tax forms, and benefits enrollment. For example, electronic signature software enables new employees to sign documents digitally.
  3. Workflow automation Use workflow automation tools to streamline onboarding, including setting up tasks, sending reminders, and tracking progress. For example, set up workflows to ensure new employees complete mandatory training modules and receive regular check-ins from their manager.
  4. Self-service portal. Use self-service portals to empower new employees to manage their onboarding processes, such as updating personal information, viewing training progress, and accessing company policies and procedures.
  5. Role-specific training. Use digital tools to automate the delivery of role-specific training to new employees, including job-specific training modules, process documentation, and single sign-on (SSO) access to team collaboration tools.
  6. Continuous feedback. Use digital feedback tools to enable new employees to provide feedback on their onboarding experience, including the content and format of training modules and the overall effectiveness of the onboarding process. Use this feedback to improve the onboarding process continuously.
  7. Performance tracking. Use digital performance management tools to track the performance of new employees, including setting performance goals, monitoring progress, and providing regular feedback and coaching.
  8. Set goals and expectations. Work with the new employee to set clear goals and expectations for their role, including performance metrics and milestones. Then, use collaborative document creation tools like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 to create the documents for setting goals.
  9. Monitor progress. Use the digital onboarding platform to monitor the new employee's progress and provide feedback.
  10. Follow up. Check the portal to track their progress and follow up with the new employee right after the digital onboarding process is complete to ensure they are comfortable in their role and have everything they need to succeed.


How to measure success and iterate on your digital
onboarding approach 

Measuring the success of your digital onboarding approach is essential to understand how well it is working and identifying areas for improvement. To effectively measure success, it's important to establish clear goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your organization's objectives. 


Here are some common KPIs  used to measure the success of a new employee's digital onboarding process:


Time to productivity 


Measures a new employee's time to become fully productive in their role. A shorter time to productivity indicates that the onboarding process is effective and efficient.


Employee satisfaction 


Shows new employees' satisfaction with the onboarding process. A high level of employee satisfaction indicates that the process is engaging and relevant to the employee. Surveys or employee net promoter scores (eNPS) can be used to collect the data.


Retention rate


The percentage of new employees who stay with the company after a certain period, such as 90 days or six months. A high retention rate indicates that the onboarding process effectively creates a positive employee experience, promotes employee engagement, and enables more productive work faster.


Compliance rate


Measures the percentage of new employees completing mandatory compliance training and other required activities during onboarding. A high compliance rate indicates that onboarding ensures new employees know and comply with company policies and procedures.


Manager satisfaction


This KPI measures managers' satisfaction with the onboarding process.  A high level of manager satisfaction indicates that the onboarding process effectively prepares new employees to be successful in their roles and contributes to the overall success of the team and organization.


Time to full ramp-up


The time a new employee takes to reach full productivity levels as determined by their manager. A shorter time to full ramp-up indicates that the onboarding process effectively provides new employees with the necessary training and support.


By monitoring these KPIs, companies can identify areas for improvement and optimize their new employee digital onboarding process to ensure the successful integration of new employees into the organization.


Once you have established your KPIs, you can use digital tools and analytics to track and monitor progress. For example, surveys and feedback from new hires provide valuable insights into how well the onboarding process works and identify improvement areas. eNPS scores are a quick and easy way to continuously and anonymously get employee feedback.


Iterating on your digital onboarding approach involves using the data collected to make changes and improve the process. This can include adjusting the onboarding timeline, updating training materials, or refining communication strategies. 


By continually refining and improving the onboarding process, organizations can create a more efficient and effective approach that meets the evolving needs of the business and its employees.




Digital onboarding is crucial in the modern workplace, providing new employees with a seamless and efficient onboarding experience. By harnessing the power of digital tools and technologies, companies can automate tasks, streamline processes, and grant new employees access to a wealth of digital resources. This not only enhances engagement and productivity but also improves employee retention.


At Cerby, we specialize in automating access to all the applications your new hires will need. Our expertise has benefited renowned organizations such as L’Oreal, Wizeline, and Fox Corporation in their digital onboarding efforts. Witness Cerby in action, and let us know how we can assist you in streamlining your onboarding process.

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